1. I see someone who was lucky enough to travel to a magnificent continent
And we welcome you. We welcome you to feel in your bones the wealth of our loam soil. Listen to the stories whispered by our winds. Immerse yourself in our skies. We welcome you to open your heart – and your eyes – to see that our narrative is more than one of suffering.
Most kids have a penchant for fairy tales, but as a kid, my favourites were the stories my dad made up for me. Legally-blind, he made up special characters just for me that far surpassed any Snow White. Of course I loved Disney, but I only really started appreciating the Grimm Brothers’ tales when I participated in a MOOC on Coursera called Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World. (It’s still a hugely popular course, check it out here.)
When I saw The Turnip Princess on NetGalley I could not resist it. Franz Xavier von Schönwerth is described as a “contemporary of the Brothers Grimm” so that grabbed my attention immediately!
This is one of those you-know-you-work-in-Africa-when stories:
A young pregnant woman is admitted with severe early-onset pre-eclampsia. She is managed well and her blood pressures and kidney functions normalise. She is discharged for a few days with a return date and lots of medication.
At home, her condition worsens. When she develops anasarca, she seeks the help of a Sangoma. The Sangoma, after the required chat to the ancestors, declares that her client is severely ill and has been cursed. Up to this point, nothing unexpected for this kind of consultation.
Her pupils killed her daughter. Now, she will have her revenge.
I have a lot of feelings about this book, so I apologise in advance for a rambling review. The first feeling is one of regret: not that I regret reading it, not at ALL; but regret that I did not love it as much as I had intended.
South African schools don’t really study The Giver by Lois Lowry as prescribed reading, so I finally read it last weekend. I had been putting it off for years but it is such a quick and easy read that I could read it in an afternoon.
Guys, I had so many thoughts about it afterwards. On GoodReads I gave it a pretty high rating, BECAUSE THERE WAS NO “QUESTION-MARK” OPTION! I have never felt so conflicted about a book before. Okay, maybe once before, in Lord of the Flies, after that whole thing with the rock happened. That was unnecessary.
Kopano N. Mokale has just completed his fourth year of medical school at a South African university. He did his fourth year elective in Rural Psychiatry, something I thought was very brave and super interesting. I trust you will enjoy his story. As always, let me know if you’d like to share your Elective story.
Stark white straitjackets, padded-cells and distant indistinguishable shouts and yelps… murmurs and mumbles from deranged minds, far detached from space-time as we understand it…. men in white coats and unrealistically beautiful nurses with little “kappies” on their heads… sorry my friends, only in Hollywood.
I was fourteen when a friend of mine told me to try Manga. The next time I went to a bookshop I went to the Manga shelf and uttered, “But the book is faulty. It’s back to front!” Genuinely. I felt a little stupid when everyone laughed at me, so maybe that’s why it took me almost another decade to consider it again.
I got Bakuman in Japan earlier this year when I visited the Manga Museum in Kyoto. By Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, this Manga is apparently very different from other Manga, because it is basically a Manga about Manga.The story: Moritaka is a young schoolboy who is close to the end of his compulsory schooling and has no idea what he wants to do with his life, and thus no idea which high school he should attend (if any). He enjoys drawing, but his parents expect him to lead a “stable” life and he agrees, having lost his uncle to the consequences of overworking. Continue reading “My First Manga (and Review)”→
One of the key lessons I learned from a young age was not to insult others’ cultures. Which, let’s be honest, is a pretty vital lesson, and was especially useful growing up in post-94 South Africa. One learns quickly that culture is an untouchable, and if you don’t understand it, the problem lies with you and not with the subject.
I did ballet as a little girl – briefly. I really wanted the tutus and the twirls, but the few lessons that I took had me so confused. What did the teacher mean, “pick the stars”? I continued to read ballet books (so many series and I can’t remember what they were called) and try to do the splits, and later years I watched all the awesome ballet movies, but I never went to the ballet for real, as it never really crossed my mind.
So today, I went to the ballet for the first time. Cape Town City Ballet was performing Sleeping Beauty. I almost did not go due to having no clue what to wear, needing to study and having an ill-timed cold. But I went. Some thoughts: Continue reading “The First Ballet: Thoughts”→